Interview with Chris Hyslop, June 9, 2021
Project: Peace Corps: The Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Oral History Project
Interview SummaryChris Hyslop served as a Peace Corps volunteer to Kyrgyzstan from 1995 to 1997 in the area of education. After college, Hyslop taught high school in a small Minnesota town. He decided to follow in the footsteps of his older brother and uncle and join the Peace Corps. His interest in Asia spurred him to accept a post in Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet republic. He and 38 volunteers were trained for three months in Bishkek, the capital city. The volunteers had two languages to choose from, Kyrgyz or Russian. Knowing he would be teaching at the university level, Hyslop chose Russian as the language of higher education. During training, he lived with a host family but in his work site, he lived in a small apartment which had electricity and water. Hyslop's project was to teach English in the local university. He had three English classes of about ten students each and assisted the permanent English instructors to become more fluent in conversational English. He also taught students to play baseball and ice hockey, an excellent opportunity to learn American slang. Throughout much of his time in Karakol, he was one of only a few Americans. He considers himself well received by the community. Kyrgyz are noted for their gracious hospitality, welcoming friends and visitors to hours of eating and drinking. An older cultural tradition of bride kidnapping still exists, as a female student disappeared from class and he was told that she had been kidnapped. Hyslop noted changes in the town as access to outside influences occurred and as young people left the country to find employment in other countries. Turkey was especially desirable because the Kyrgyz language is closely related to Turkish and thus easy to learn. Hyslop noted his service was a "life changing experience." Like many volunteers, his experience broadened his personal horizons, allowed him to live beyond the framework of his culture, and explore new bounds. In doing so, he continued working internationally for 20 years.
Interview LC SubjectPeace Corps (U.S.) Peace Corps (U.S.)--Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan Acculturation Communication and culture Culture Culture shock Intercultural communication Interpersonal communication and culture Interpersonal relations Interpersonal relations and culture Language and culture Language and languages Lifestyles Manners and customs Voluntarism Volunteers
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Hyslop, Chris Interview by Katherine Weist. 09 Jun. 2021. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Hyslop, C. (2021, June 09). Interview by K. Weist. Peace Corps: The Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Hyslop, Chris, interview by Katherine Weist. June 09, 2021, Peace Corps: The Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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